Travel dates were Nov 3-10. I am 7 months pregnant and i had an awesome time. I went with my husband. i have been to Mexico x2, Cuba, Jamaica, Turks and Caicos, Dominican (Bahia Principe Bavaro) and this was definately an all round excellent trip. This is not adults only- there were plenty of famiilies there with young children.
Departed from Toronto. Our flight time of 10am was great because we didnt have to wake up in the wee hours of the morning. We pre-booked our seats on line- well worth it.
-Approx half hour from airport. We made a few stops on the way. But not an unreasonable distance.
-Hotel Riu Palace apparently opened in Dec 2011. it was super spotless, and if you have stayed a riu before, it lives up to its Riu standards (I've stayed at Riu Cancun and Riu Montego Bay).
-Lobby is right off the parking lot. Check in was 3pm but since we arrived around then, it was smooth sailing.
NOTE: FEES charged to visitors- $10 US fee for when you land and $20 US fee when you depart per person
WEATHER: It was awesome. Approx. 35 degrees daily. No rain - except a thunderstorm on our last day as we waited for the bus to take us to airport (we didnt mind obviously because we were leaving anyway!)
ROOM: it was very upscale and super clean. Colours were purple, black and white. King size bed. 3 pillows, one blanket (I felt a little cool at night so I asked and got extra pillows and blankets without issue). Stand up shower with rain showerhead. separate toilet. King size bed. Our balcony had a view of the pool (there's an exclusive section where those members had their own pool- that's the view we got) and the ocean/beach in the background. We also had a jacuzzi tub with jets in our room which was located centrally in the room near the bed in the open - which was heavenly! Two sinks. Fridge is refilled every 2 days. There was domestic beer, pop-orange, pepsi, sprite and there was an in-room bar (4 bottles). They also had coffee- but to get that refilled I had to activelly ask for it. TV had lots of Spanish channels with a few US channels. There was also an alarm clock radio. TIP for the shower- the water on the first day was lukewarm and day by day got better. By the 3rd day, I was able to have a nice hot shower.
BEACH: It was awesome. Clean white sand (not rocky, no seaweed). Tons of chairs available. Their manual tells you not to reserve chairs by putting your towels on it. We hit the beach at various times of day throughout the week and never did we have any difficulty in finding chairs. Lots of beach space and lots of chairs too. The water was clear and warm. It was wavy so a non swimmer like me just flapped around in it. I could go pretty far out and it was still shallow. There was alot of shady spots at the beach- palm trees- for those interested. We did get the occasional vendor coming by selling their wares.
POOL: The pool was great. It was a curvy pool and lots of chairs available- both in shade and in the sun. The water at its deepest was probably about just shy of 5 feet. it was super warm. it was rarely busy and even when it was busy, tons of chairs available.
BAR: There is a swim up bar located in the pool and beside it is the beach bar- just for drinks. Towel exchange is located just across from swim up bar.
Beside the pool (and still close to the beach) there is Taino restaurant- buffet (At night, this is the steak house restaurant). Which is open from around noon to just before dinner. So perfect for someone like me eating for two- squeezing in a couple of snack between breakfast and lunch- and between lunch and dinner. You can get salads, breads, fruit, pizza, meats, fries, etc... there.
Just off to the right side of this restaurant are washrooms - so they are conveniently located near the restaurant, pool AND beach area. Washrooms also in lobby- all were found to be very clean and well maintained.
LOBBY also has a bar on one side and a lounge on the other side- at the lounge you can get different coffees, esspressos, teas and both sweet and savoury snacks (ie. cookies, cakes, pastries and premade sandwiches). Nice and relaxing to just sit there and hang out.
SPORTS BAR: Just off the lobby on one side is a sports bar which is open all day and into the wee hours of the night- they offer pool, tv, games as well as drinks. In a fridge off to one side of the bar you can get premade cold sandwiches as well as burgers (just gotta heat them up) and nachos with cheese.
MAIN RESTAURANT called MONTECRISTO- BUFFET (which is located between lobby and pool/beach area).
BREAKFAST IS from 7-11
LUNCH from 1-3
DINNER from 6-10 (or 11, cant recall).
-Food was great. Good variety of foods. Breakfast had at least 10 different styles of egg dishes. I am a vegetarian- good selection of salads, pizza, breads (I made my own sandwiches). I found it to be a little lacking in all-veggie dishes (ie. they'd have veggies with ham mixed in or rice with other meats thrown in there.) So I had to be very careful of what i ate. They had great hashbrowns!!
My husband said the selection of meat and meat dishes was really good- as with the alcohol.
A LA CARTE: Book them as soon as you get there. Each restaurant has 2 sittings- one around 6:30/7 and the other at 9. We booked one at 9 and found we were starved by the time 9pm rolled around. We preferred the earlier sitting.
These are the ones we ate at:
LA BAMBOLA- italian restaurant. I loved it! buffet style appetizers and the main meals were delicious!
KRYSTAL: fusion restauarnt- really good.
OTHER: There are 3 other RIU hotels on this beachfront. You can access 2 of the others except the MACAO - which is adults only. It was nice to nosy around at the other resorts and by far our Riu was the best! There's also a disco which is open to all four hotels- located near Caribbean St. We unfortunately didnt make it there. We were in a carbohydrate coma after dinner each night!
EVENING ENTERTAINMENT/SHOWS: They had nightly entertainment which was okay- your typical resort type of entertainment with- you guessed it- a Michael Jackson show one night. On one night they had a magic show- which wasnt overly impressive. Across from the stage they have a smaller stage- where they had a live band or a solo singer most nights before the main act and after- this stage is in the open area and it was beautiful at night to listen to mellow tunes and couples were dancing under the sky. It was really nice. I've never experienced that anywhere else before.
SHOPPING: There is a store on site near the lobby- however items are very expensive. I saw a Twix chocolate bar for $3 US!
CARIBBEAN St: There is a Caribbean Street on the Riu property (a stretch of road where there's approx 20 stores selling souvenirs, clothing, snacks, pharmacy, etc...) which can be accessed by everyone at any of these resorts. We checked it out and found it to be pricey and not worth buying anything there. Its interested to browse around there though.
PALMA REAL SHOPPING TRIP: We did a free bus trip (approx 20 minutes away) to a local mall Palma Real- complete waste of time. The bus dropped us off just before noon. We walked the entire span of the mall in about 10 minutes. I found it not to be worthwhile at all. We had to wait 2 hours for the bus to pick us up again. They had Hard Rock Cafe, Tony Roma's among other places. I found it to be expensive. They also have an Armani Exchange store.
STAFF: The staff were very nice and professional and accomodating. Staff arent hustling for tips. They're polite. I just found that a good number of them dont speak much english. So as long as as you're aware of that.
SPA: I had wanted a massage - I inquired if they offer pre-natal massages and they couldnt understand what i meant even when i pointed to my very pregnant stomach. So i gave up. I erred on the side of caution and didnt indulge. They offer full range of nails, hair, spa services.
GYM: they have an adequate gym inside the hotel which my husband used about 4 times.
GUESTS: We found that most of them tend to be from Spanish-speaking countries. Also a lot of Germans there as well. Handful of British and some Canadian. People were great. All there for a good time. Lots of families with wee children, which didnt bother us at all. As well as groups of ladies there together as friends.
NOTE: We did find a bit of pushing during dinner time- like people were worried that the food was going to run out so they had to butt in line to get there first. But that's not a resort issue, just a manners issue that some people had not learned apparently.
Overall an EXCELLENT time at this resort. Would definately recommend to family and friends whether you are going as a couple, a family or a group of friends.
PUNTA CANA AIRPORT on WAY BACK: BE PREPARED FOR CHAOS!!! The line up to check in to airport on way back was horrible. The line up was a couple of hundred people with only 2 people working there. The lines were so bad, you couldnt figure out where the back of the line was. So we were walking in a snakelike spiral trying to find the end of the line. We had to get rid of our water before customs so i was hot, dehydrated, and feeling a bit faint. What i found really decent was that a Sunwing rep came and took us to the front of the line. It really helped so i could get a drink as soon as i got through the line.
Any questions, please ask!!!
Enjoy your trip!
Check out where your room is before you ask for a closer room to beach. I was going to ask right at...
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.